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April 26, 2018 / societyforhumanecology

HER Pre-print: Bringing the Body into Environmental Behavior

A new pre-print from the next issue of HER has been posted at

Bringing the Body into Environmental Behavior: The Corporeal Element of Social Practice and Behavioral Change

Chelsea Schelly, Michigan Technological University


This paper argues that understanding environmentally responsible behavior as a constellation of practices, specifically practices that involve bodily engagement, provides the most promising avenue for future research seeking to explain and encourage patterns of behavior that are environmentally responsible and promote environmental sustainability. Drawing on scholarship on theories of practice, and sociological research on alternative technology adoption and alternative communities, this essay brings attention to the corporeal nature of practice. To understand environmentally responsible behavior, scholarship must acknowledge that humans are reflexively engaged with the material world, and engaging in alternative practices means engaging in alternative bodily habits, routines, and rituals. Empirical research that focuses on the corporeal elements of environmental practice may offer fruitful insight for enhanced scholarship in environmental social science and the promotion of environmental engagement.

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